By Michael Ketterhagen
The “house” in this passage refers to the “House of God,” but can be and has been interpreted in many ways.
In the Jewish and Christian Traditions, “house” means the temple and the church building, respectively. Both of these structures are considered the dwelling place of God. Christianity extends the concept of church to include the gathering of people who worship in that building. Christians also believe that this gathering of people is the “Body of Christ.” In other words, wherever two or more are gathered in the name of Christ, that gathering is considered “church,” or the dwelling place of God.
Later in the 12th century, Thomas Aquinas explained the passage to mean “the house of God is the Universe.” The universe, according the Aquinas, is the proper place of God. Creation continues to happen throughout the universe as new stars die and rise constantly.
The Yoga Tradition agrees with the Jewish and Christian understanding that there are holy places where God dwells. They even consider the presence of God dwelling in mountains and waters, like in the Himalayas, especially in Mount Kailash. Specifically, Yoga believes that all life is the dwelling place of God and gives very specific sacred names to every aspect of our Earthly creation. However, Yoga has always added another dwelling place of God—the human being. God’s house is our own body. Everyone’s body is the house of God. Christianity qualifies that belief by saying that all baptized humans are temples of the Holy Spirit. Yoga, however, believes that all – the building/temples/shrines, and every dimension of the created universe, and every human being—is the one “house of God.”
Now all we need do is let our zeal for all those dimensions of God’s house consume us. We need to ignite our passion for protecting, loving, and cherishing the well-being of all these houses—not just the buildings, but the universe (the Earth in particular), and our own bodies and the bodies of all on Earth.
This work is quite a task. Yet, if we are on fire with the Creator of Life, with the love of our God (whatever our image of the Source of our Life), then we must work hard to nurture and care for our soil, air, and water and treat our own bodies as lovingly and respectfully as possible by feeding them with good food and water. There are many other actions that we need in our current times. In the next few blogs I will share some the zeal I have for those houses.
I bow to the Divinity within you.